HP board hit with its first shareholder lawsuit over Hurd's ouster

Hewlett-Packard‘s board was sued today over the departure of Mark Hurd. A Connecticut-based law firm filed a shareholder suit in Santa Clara County Superior Court against HP’s board, saying the directors violated their duty to shareholders in the investigation of Hurd.

The suit filed by Scott+Scott LLP lists HP shareholder Brockton Contributory Retirement System as the plaintiff. HP declined comment on it.

The suit alleges that the HP board violated corporate governance guidelines by failing to inform shareholders of the investigation and says that Hurd’s $35 million golden parachute is too high. It’s just one more expected headache from the fallout of HP’s latest soap opera. Hurd resigned on Friday after the board investigated a report of sexual harassment by Jodie Fisher, a former actress and a marketing contractor for HP’s CEO Summit events. The board said it could not substantiate the harassment charge, but it found that Hurd failed to disclose his close personal relationship with Fisher and filed incorrect expense reports. After the announcement, HP’s stock took a dive, wiping out $10 billion in shareholder value.

Meanwhile, HP is getting on with the process of interviewing executive search firms to find Hurd’s replacement. HP clearly wants to put this debacle behind it, but the episode hasn’t quite run its course in the media yet.

The CEO search committee includes venture capitalist Marc Andreessen; Joel Hyatt, former CEO of Hyatt Legal Plans; McKesson CEO John Hammergren; and former Verizon CEO Lawrence Babbio. Cathie Lesjak, interim CEO and chief financial officer, says she is not seeking the post.

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